Professor Jean Howard Recognized with Honorary Degree from Brown University

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 11 - At its 248th Commencement on the afternoon of Sunday, May 29, Brown University will confer honorary doctorates on eight candidates who have achieved great distinction in a variety of fields.

Jean E. Howard is George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University where since 1987 she has taught early modern English literature, Shakespeare, feminist studies and theater history, including modern and contemporary playwrights. One of the first scholars to examine early modern drama through a feminist lens, she has been interested throughout her career in the political dimensions of literary works, particularly how they engage with and contest normative ideas of gender or race.

A prolific scholar, Howard has authored more than 50 essays and five books. In addition, Howard is one of the co-editors of The Norton Shakespeare, often cited as the most used teaching edition of Shakespeare in the world. She has been the recipient of Guggenheim, American Council of Learned Societies and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and Huntington, Folger and Newberry library fellowships. As a teacher, Howard has won awards both at Syracuse University, where she started her career, and at Columbia, for the teaching and mentoring of graduate students.

A 1970 graduate of Brown who earned a Ph.D. from Yale in 1975, Howard served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Brown Corporation from 1974 to 1981, leading the Committee on the Status of Women, which undertook a study of the effects of coeducation on the educational experience of women at Brown. More recently, she was chair of the Advisory Council on Diversity, which has actively been involved in developing Brown’s agenda for diversity and inclusion. She currently chairs the Pembroke Center Associates Council, where she continues her lifelong commitment to supporting research and teaching on women, gender and sexuality.

Throughout her career, Howard has combined scholarship and teaching with administrative service at her home institutions and elsewhere. A past president of the Shakespeare Association of America and an active member of many committees of the Modern Language Association, she currently serves as a senator for the National Phi Beta Kappa organization and as chair of its visiting scholar committee. Among her many administrative positions at Columbia, she was the university’s first vice provost for diversity initiatives.